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Old 10th October 2005   #1
Emily
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Default ''Feminine romanticism'' fashion's future

Thinking about the "other" meaning of the title of this website ("Judgment of Paris"), I think we all have to concede that currently, as a leader of world fashion, Paris (France) deserves to be judged very well.

I never thought I would be saying this, and I only hope that it lasts, but the simple truth is that fashion has never been this beautiful in my lifetime -- nor, would I wager, in the lifetime of anyone living today.

There was a wonderful article in today's New York Times about the gorgeous styles that were on display at the Paris shows last week. Titled "Ruffles and Flourishes for a Girlie Girl," the writer, Guy Treblay, couldn't quite prevent himself from expressing some cynicism, but he was obviously compelled to acknowledge the beauty of the apparel -- almost despite himself.

Here are some of the best passages:

............

"The shows are over, and the consensus among those who concern themselves with these things is that Paris presented a fairly unified vision of fashion in the near term. The woman conjured by the majority of designers working in this city, which still has by far the strongest field of designers, is a person unafraid of the kind of frilly femininity that not so long ago was considered anathema.

The girlie girl, in short, is back. And from the look of things, she is ready to make her first communion.

So many bows and ruffles and chiffons and voiles and embroideries were on display here over the last week that one dismayed buyer for a New York department store threw up her hands and said, "What if you're not a virgin?" "


.............


I smiled when I read that last quip, but it's wonderful to hear a fashion writer acknowledging just how significant this change in mainstream fashion really is, how profound a departure it is from the ugly modernism of the recent past.

This paragraph also reminded me of the article that was recently posted on this forum, about how fashion is expressing is a "soft, soothing message":


"The dress is back, say the fashion seers, their voices like those of Circe's maidens. "There's so much white and so much tan and soft fabrics and subtle details that you have to study, that you keep coming back to the same thing, the dress," Julie Gilhart, the fashion director of Barneys New York, said outside the Chloé show at the Jardin des Tuileries. "It's kind of irresistible." "


And the writer coined a term for this movement that I like as much, or even more, than "the New Femininity." He called it "feminine romanticism":


"A knack for getting hold of a hankering many women apparently nurture for the powder-puff prettiness that one could term "feminine romanticism" is probably what rescued Alber Elbaz of Lanvin from the scrapheap of also-rans."


The only thing that breaks my heart when looking at these designs, of course, is thinking how much better they would look on plus-size models. We have all been saying this here for years, but now that Crystal did her runway turn, it's a proven fact!

Just look at these achingly beautiful, dreamlike dresses from Valentino:

http://www.style.com/fashionshows/c...N?trend=&page=4

Anything this lovely and unmodern is clearly meant for a figure that expresses comparably timeless beauty.

I only hope the fashion industry takes its lead from Gaultier, and finally begins matching the "feminine romanticism" of its designs to models whose beauty is similarly romantic. Just imagine the industry's young ingenues such as Kelsey Olson and Christina Schmidt, or timeless enchantresses such as Barbara Brickner and Charlotte Coyle, in the "bows and ruffles and chiffons and voiles and embroideries" that the New York Times article mentioned.

Like Crystal's appearance on the runway, it would be a fairy-tale made real.
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Old 11th October 2005   #2
M. Lopez
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Default Re: ''Feminine romanticism'' fashion's future

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emily
The only thing that breaks my heart when looking at these designs, of course, is thinking how much better they would look on plus-size models. We have all been saying this here for years, but now that Crystal did her runway turn, it's a proven fact!

Amazingly, I think the fact that a fuller figure shows off romantic skirts and dresses better than a rail-thin frame is finally being acknowledged.

Until now, the only time that I had ever encountered this idea in the mainstream press was in an article from The Guardian that was posted on this forum, a few months ago:

http://www.judgmentofparis.com/boar...thread.php?t=82

But I just stumbled across an article about a designer named Roland Mouret, who made a name for himself dressing an actress named Scarlett Johansen.

Here's the pertinent excerpt from the article:


"Mouret dressed her for the Golden Globes and the Oscars. She looked fabulous, he became a household name.

The key to Johansson's charm is also the key to Mouret's success. Unlike most actresses her age, Johansson is not a size six twiglet: she is voluptuous like an old-fashioned screen goddess. Mouret pioneered the return of the hourglass figure which is currently setting tills alight this autumn."



Now, in any picture I've ever seen of Scarlett Johanson she looks indistinguishable from "most actresses her age" - very, very thin. So it's the typical mixed message. BUT, what I think is important is the idea conveyed by that passage - ie, that a fuller figure makes an outfit look better than a "twiglet" body.

When women finally realize that gaining twenty pounds will do more for their appearance, and their ability to wear contemporary fashions, than losing twenty pounds, that will signal a real shift in the culture.

The complete article is here, although the above quote is the only pertinent part -

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/londo...ning%20Standard
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Old 11th October 2005   #3
HSG
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Default ''Feminine romanticism''--sensual innocence


The clever joke in the New York Times article actually contains within it a clue as to how the movement towards "Feminine Romanticism" may be interpreted.

In an age that has seen the rampant vulgarization of popular culture--to the point that it has practically been emptied of all meaning--these consciously girlish styles indicate a desire to recapture a sense of . . . lost innocence.

And that is a core concept in Romantic art.

Here are a series of excerpts from another thoughtful article about the Paris shows:


Paris fashion trends favor romance

Paris (AP):

The Paris pret-a-porter shows that closed this week left clear indicators for how women should dress for spring-summer 2006: There was an air of romanticism and dignity in nearly every collection.

Attendance at every catwalk show was packed to the rafters -- in contrast to past seasons, where many seats were left vacant. Many feel that as designers are creating pretty, romantic and reasonable clothes for «real» women, interest is on the rise.

Nearly every designer had some version of the peasant blouse, often worn off the shoulders. Jean Paul Gaultier looked to the Ukraine, etching his blouses with needlepoint designs and slipping a vest on top. Phoebe Philo at Chloe cut hers from English eyelet embroidered cotton, while Andrew Gn splashed his vibrant Pucci-styled prints on organza blouses belted over a pencil slim skirt.

- - - -

Ruffles, flounces and frills were everywhere. They were on the bottom of a silk taffeta trench coat in Sonia Rykiels collection, around the neck and down the front of YSLs shirts under matador bolero jackets, gracefully cascading down from the hips of Antonio Marras sumptuous ankle-length floral gowns at Kenzo, and at the back of the pinstriped redingote jackets shown at Marithe & Francois Girbaud.

Designers including Valentino and Elie Saab featured soft, floral silk organza or georgette dresses cut in ruffled tiers cascading down from a small empire waist or bra top.

- - - -

At Nina Ricci and Stella McCartney, low-riding dirndl skirts were shown with hip-length curvy jackets showing just a sliver of skin.

- - - -

Flower prints, particularly in the faded chartreuse and cranberry tones found in 1950s draperies, will also be very popular next summer. Look for mixtures of these prints like those put together in the multiple layered ruffled dresses at Kenzo, and the soft georgette skirts worn with contrasting embroidered waist-length jackets at Christian Lacroix.

In a word, the key to getting through next summer in style is romance. Think pretty, be sweet.

The article touches on many important points, including the fact that:
-fashion as a whole has never been as popular as it is right now, thanks to the feminine revival
-the peasant blouse is more beloved than ever (and how could it not be?)
-Old World touches, such as folkloric embroidery, and even actual Dirndl/Tracht-inspired styles, continue to fascinate

The twentieth century is finally over, in more ways than one. This wild enthusiasm for vividly unmodern apparel testifies to a deeper desire--a Romantic desire--on the part of the public to rediscover and restore the culture of beauty that once enriched our existence on this terrestrial sphere.

Torrid beauty modelling an all-too-rare example of full-blown romantic femininity available to plus-size ingenues:

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Old 11th October 2005   #4
kirsten
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Default Re: ''Feminine romanticism'' fashion's future

Quote:
This wild enthusiasm for vividly unmodern apparel testifies to a deeper desire--a Romantic desire--on the part of the public to rediscover and restore the culture of beauty that once enriched our existence on this terrestrial sphere.


Yes, indeed. The recent return of femininity supports my theory that beauty always follows hard times like Persephone rising from the underworld. It's as if humans have a deep-seated need for beauty and nature to sustain and unite us when social trends have become estranged from daily life and pleasures.
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Old 13th October 2005   #5
Kaitlynn
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Default Re: ''Feminine romanticism'' fashion's future

Okay, talk about feminine romanticism. You have to see this gorgeous camisole at Torrid. This has to be the most beautiful piece I've ever seen at their site- and they even have their prettiest model (after Christina Schmidt) modelling it. "Ruffles, flounces and frills" - straight from the runway to real life:

http://www.torrid.com/store/product...204&ITEM=529991

The ribbon makes it perfect. I am speechless.

A Torrid runway show- now that would be something to see!
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Old 14th October 2005   #6
HSG
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Default Re: ''Feminine romanticism'' fashion's future


It certainly is a passionate item, and the model only grows more beautiful with every shoot,

(In response to the readers who have asked that she be added to the survey, it will be a pleasure to do so, if her modelling identity ever becomes known. It would seem rather cold and officious to simply refer to her as "the Torrid model.")

One can easily imagine how remarkable an article of clothing such as this would look in appropriately romantic photo layout. Now that the New Femininity is becoming more popular than ever, the time for the debut of a new plus-size fashion magazine has never been better . . .

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Old 26th October 2005   #7
MelanieW
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Default Re: ''Feminine romanticism'' fashion's future

Since Scarlett Johannson came up in this thread, I thought I would add a link to a new article about her, in which she not only reaffirms her determination not to diet, but points out something that a lot of us have noted for a while now - that fashion has never been more favorable for the fuller female figure:

http://www.ananova.com/entertainmen...6810.html?menu=

Here is an excerpt -


"the darling of many a designer thinks that the current fashion climate is perfect for her hourglass figure - Scarlett, we salute you.

Starlet Scarlett, 20, told this week's Grazia: "I accept I'm never going to be rail-thin. I think it's the right time for me."

"I dress so I can feel like I'm a princess who has the chance to wear a wonderful outfit, have my hair done and wear some fabulous jewellery."



The trouble is, I tried to find some pictures in which Scarlett looks even a teensy bit plus, and couldnt. She is, of course, very thin. But at least she dresses in a feminine way. Her outfits would look even better on a fuller figure.
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Old 17th December 2005   #8
Emily
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Default Re: ''Feminine romanticism'' fashion's future

Quote:
Originally Posted by MelanieW
"Starlet Scarlett, 20, told this week's Grazia: "I accept I'm never going to be rail-thin. I think it's the right time for me."

"I dress so I can feel like I'm a princess who has the chance to wear a wonderful outfit, have my hair done and wear some fabulous jewellery."

I finally found a picture in which Scarlett Johannsen actually does look like a "princess." Not only is this the first time that I have ever seen her look really pretty, but the dress is as perfect an example of "Feminine Romaticism" as I have ever seen. She is still extremely thin, but she does exude a certain softness in this image. It's the cover of the Janary issue of Elle magaine:



But if you go to the Elle Web site, you can see a much larger version of the same photo, sans cover copy:



Besides that incredible, gorgeous, dreamlike dress, I think it's the dramatic eye makeup that makes Scarlett look so much prettier in this image than usual.

Elle has a surprisingly good track record of producing beautiful and almost-curvy covers. There was the memorable J-Lo cover a few months ago, and they also had a surprisingly pretty Britney-Spears-while-pregnant cover a few months back, in which the singer looked uncommonly soft and pretty.

Finally, Ms. Johannsen has produced an image that is in line with her size-positive statements.
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